Apples are delicious in many desserts, the most common of course being apple pie. The fruits are also good in apple crisp, apple Brown Betty, apple turnovers, or just as baked apples.
Here is an unusual twist on baked apples that is very tasty and simple to make, for one person or for several.
The amounts given here are per single apple; just roughly multiply the ingredients by the number of apples (these don’t have to be precise measurements). This may be more than will fill one apple, so have another on hand, if needed. I used a whole banana and it filled 3 small apples.
Baked Stuffed Apples
1 large apple of your choice
½ a banana, peeled and mashed smooth
1-2 tsp. Agave or maple syrup
½ tsp. lavender buds, crushed
1 Tbsp. dried cranberries or raisins
1 Tbsp. broken pecan pieces
Optional spices: cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, allspice
1) Wash each apple and peel about ¼ of the way down from the top. Using the tip of the peeler or a sharp paring knife, carefully scrape out the core, leaving the apple whole.
2) Scoop out some of the flesh to create a hollow about 1-2” in diameter. If you have a hole in the bottom of the apple, stuff it with a small amount of the flesh. Reserve the flesh you scooped for another use, or just eat it.
3) Mix together the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Season to taste with any or all of the spices. Press the filling into the apple.
4) Set the filled apple in small baking pan, if necessary shaving a bit off the bottom so it sits level. Bake at 350º F. for 20-30 minutes or until the apple is soft. Serve at once, either plain or with cream, yogurt, or your favorite topping.
Variation: Make a pastry dough, roll into 6” circles and wrap each circle around an apple. Prick the dough and bake the apples at 375º F until fruit is tender and dough is golden. You can also try adding bits of dark chocolate to the filling. If you don’t have any bananas, simply use the apple flesh you’ve scooped out, chopped and mixed with the remaining ingredients. Feel free to experiment with other nuts, too.
The baked apples will keep for several in the refrigerator for days, so make a several for yourself, if you like. Just reheat in the oven or in a cast iron skillet with a lid over low heat.